Greene County implements water restrictions

Low level of water in the Rapidan River led to Greene County to place its public utility customers on mandatory restrictions last week.  

“Greene County operates as a run-of-the-river intake system and with low water flow of the Rapidan River, we feel it is prudent to take the step of instituting water-use restrictions for residents and businesses within the county,” said Alan Harrison, Director of Greene County Water and Sewer in a press release that went out on September 7.  

“While these restrictions apply only to customers of Greene County Water, it’s important for everyone to practice water conservation measures until the community as a whole has received ample rainfall,” Harrison continued.

A national map of drought conditions maintained by the National Drought Mitigation Center classifies most of Greene County as in moderate drought with the northern tip in severe drought along with several other counties heading up toward the Maryland border. 

A drought map for Virginia updated with data as of Tuesday (Credit: National Drought Mitigation Center)

The northern half of Albemarle County and Charlottesville are in moderate drought.

“The news out of the Shenandoah Park is that streams and rivers are closed to fishing due to low stream flows and high water temperatures,” said Albemarle Supervisor Ann Mallek at Wednesday’s Board meeting.

The restrictions in Greene prohibit the watering of most outdoor vegetation except limited watering for newly seeded lawns, watering by commercial nurseries of freshly planted plants,  and overnight usage of dedicated irrigation systems. 

Washing of vehicles with public water is also prohibited except for in facilities with recycling systems that have been approved by the county. People are also asked to use less water with shorter showers and only using dishwashers and washing machines if they are full. 

Fines for violations would be between $100 and $2,500 depending on the scope of the incident. 

For a full list of restrictions, visit the Greene County website

Supervisors Ann Mallek said many streams in the White Hall District have dried up. Though Albemarle County has not issued any restrictions, she urged everyone to conserve water. 

“There are no rules for rural well use but if you’re using a lot on your own well you may be depleting your neighbors’ aquifer as well,” Mallek said. 

Reservoirs maintained by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority are at 92.54 of their useable capacity as of Tuesday.

Data for reservoirs maintained by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (view the report) (Credit: RWSA)

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular story comes from the September 7, 2023 edition of the program. It was updated with new information before being posted here. To ensure this work can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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